Vijayapura to Bengaluru: Orange Travels AC Sleeper

Selection of the operator for my return journey from Vijayapura (Bijapur) was easy - there weren't too many operators, and only a handful of Air conditioned options existed. I picked Orange travels from among the choices I had. Orange offered a discount for booking through their website. While using the website, I realised that Orange even offered discounts for regular passengers (using the last traveled ticket's PNR as the discount code). Since I booked fairly in advance, I could get a single lower berth.

June 11, 2018:
The accommodation provided by the examination centre was at a poorly connected place. I had to leave sufficiently in advance to get to the pick-up point on time, and also have my dinner. The pick-up point was displayed as "Hotel Lalit Mahal Complex". I had to spend some time waiting before I got an auto. I headed straight to the restaurant at "Lalit Mahal" for my dinner. I remained there for some time, then used the washroom before heading out to the bus, which was already parked outside the hotel by then. I was near the bus by 2100hrs - 15 minutes before departure.
The bus...

The crew insisted all the waiting passengers board the bus early - the dispatch agent was aroudn by 2105hrs, and quickly began checking tickets and verifying bookings. Most of the reserved passengers were already on board, and the bus actually got moving by 2111hrs - 4 minutes before time. We stopped again outside an agency a little ahead from the starting point. We got moving from here only by 2118hrs. Engine noise came into the cabin quite well - the engine's growl was very audible inside. The AC was in full flow, and the berth cooled quite well. Soon after the bus got moving, the attendant came around to distribute blankets (packed in plastic bags), then another round to distribute snack packets and water bottles.

We had more pick-ups on the way - I couldn't get the name of the places (One was Ibrahimpur). The bus even picked up passengers in the middle of no where - just a random junction on the highway (2201hrs)! After a while, the driver stopped just past a toll gate - he announced that as the last stop. The stop was approximately 5 minutes, and we got moving by 2230hrs. All lights were turned off by now. The driver was fast - not very fast, and drove in a very stable manner. There were no rash cuts or hard brakes. I slept fairly well - do remember the bus stopping at some place. I woke up just at the attendant came around calling for pax alighting at Nelamangala. I was groggy, and did not notice the time. I got off at Parle toll (Madavara) at 0631hrs.

Summary: The bus, AR-02-6185, was quite well maintained. The front seemed to have been rebuilt recently after an accident - the front glass did not have stickering. One of the two drivers did not wear an uniform, but did have his identity card displayed. Both the drivers drove really well. What I loved most was the driving style - not too aggressive, but had the right about of pace. I loved the service - in fact I slept really well, which is not something I've done in a sleeper bus. Overall a journey I loved.

Amenities:
Blanket: Yes
Water: Yes
Snacks: Yes
Charging Point: Available, worked
Entertainment: Available, not used.

Ratings:
Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.85/5

Pros: Value for money
Cons: Nothing specific

Will I take this service again? There aren't too many options on this route. Well maintained bus, professional crew, efficiency, punctuality, value for money - Orange has it all. Absolutely recommended if you are looking for an AC sleeper. 

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